The Galatians Letter

The grace of God helped Paul overcome the fear of man that brings a snare (Ch. 1)

  • Paul introduced this letter by pinpointing the snare of fear of man that plagued the Galatian churches (1:1-5)
  • Your fear of man caused you to pervert the gospel by adding parts of Moses’ old covenant to the new covenant in Jesus Christ (1:6-9). Wow Paul, you’re being so harsh!
  • Well, am I serving man or God? (1:10-12) 
    • You can’t serve God and man.
    • The gospel came by revelation. It doesn’t mean there are no teachers. 
  • Paul’s zeal in the things of Moses was far beyond his peers. He thought he was promoting righteousness by purging the synagogues of the idolatry of Jesus. But when he realized all of his scriptures were about Jesus Christ he immediately went preaching in the synagogues (Acts 9:19-22). After three years, the Jews sought to kill Paul, so he went to Jerusalem. But few Christians in Jerusalem believed Paul was a new creature because of his past (Acts 9:23-31) (1:13-19)
  • Paul’s conversion was so convincing, the people that once feared him now glorified God in him. The churches in Judea were not visited by Paul and it’s people from these churches that began to contaminate the hub of Christianity again (1:20-24). Acts 15:1-5 and Galatians 2

Jerusalem’s leadership has to be straightened out by Paul (Ch. 2)

  • Paul corrected the attempts to add Moses’ law, the old covenant, to the new covenant in Jesus Christ. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 15)  (2:1-10)
  • Paul makes an example of Peter and even Barnabas for the Galatian’s sake (2:11-14)
    • These Jews don’t even live under Moses’ law, so why are they expecting Gentiles to live under Moses’ law?
    • Paul was infuriated by the hypocrisy.
  • The Jews of all people should know better than to say that Moses’ law justifies the sinner, especially in light of the LORD Jesus Christ dying for sinners (2:15-17)
    • The works of the law are not works of faith. So the word works is not a general term. It has to be specified what type of works are being discussed.
    • The works of the law are self-righteous by nature. And the motive is to be seen by men.
  • The Lord wasted his time if righteousness came any other way than the way he brought it to us (2:18-21)

Paul gets personal with the Galatian churches about their lack of understanding (Ch. 3)

  • Did the Spirit of God come to you through works of the law? No. It was by faith and it’s always been by faith (3:1-9)
  • If you pride yourself in your works of the law then you’re under the whole law. Since you pride yourself in the parts of the law you do and ignore the others, you’ve also missed the very point of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross which was to redeem from the curse of the law (3:10-15)
  • The promises are to Abraham and his seed. His seed is Christ and therefore Christ is the one who holds the promises of God. The same way Abraham received the promises by faith, so anyone seeking the promises of God must seek them in Christ, by faith. The law was not even in existence until four centuries later. God’s dealing with man is a relationship outside the law (3:16-18).
  • Then what is the law for? (3:19-29)
    • The law came as a result of sin.
    • The law was not about imparting the promises of God. Contrary to that, it highlighted sin and accusation. It did the exact opposite of justify, it accused according to the light of God. It wasn’t evil, it was a good law, whose purpose was never to justify anyone.
    • And in concluding all under sin, the law then was the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, the Seed who holds all the promises and blessings of God.
    • And when you get to the new covenant in Christ, you should have the understanding that there is no room or place for the works of the law now. No one is going back under Moses’ law.
    • And this opportunity to be in Christ is available to anyone, Jew or Gentile. It went to the Jew first, then it went to the Gentile.
    • And whoever you are, if you’re in Christ, you’re part of Abraham’s seed according to the promise.

Paul illustrates the old covenant and the new covenant (Ch. 4)

  • The heir versus the servant (4:1-7)
    • At the appointed time the heir becomes the heir.
    • Jesus Christ is the seed and you become a son of God by faith in Jesus Christ.
  • In seeking to go back to the law you’ve lost your love and joy. No one is immune from being men-pleasers or being afraid of men. It affects people with good intentions (4:8-20)
    • You sought out bondage which is vain (4:8-11)
    • You’ve thrown me out who labored with you and for you and accepted those that will use you to their gain (4:12-20)
  • Comparisons of law and grace in the law (4:21-31)
    • Hagar like the flesh—doing it in your own power (4:21-23)
    • Two covenants: Sinai and Abrahamic (2:24)
    • Jerusalem vs. New Jerusalem (2:25-26)
    • Desolate vs. wife to a husband: Jerusalem had a husband in God, but had no children. No sons of God were produced from that marriage. Compared to when Jesus Christ comes and bears children to God (2:27)
    • Isaac vs Ishmael: the Spirit vs. the flesh, promise versus carnal (4:28-31)

The liberty is in Christ (Ch. 5)

  • Christ is unprofitable if you make yourself a debtor to Moses’ law (5:1-6)
  • The problem is these Jewish adversaries were looking for someone to throw a chain around. They were very influential people. They caused even Christian apostolic leadership to fear them. There is a WHO somewhere. But Paul suffers for Christ unlike this character that seeks to yoke you up with Moses’ law again (5:7-12)
  • Carnal ways vs spiritual life (5:13-26)
    • They are contrary to each other (5:13-18)
    • Works of the flesh don’t inherit the KOG (5:19-21)
    • Fruit of the spirit has no law against it (5:22-23) new life crucified the flesh vs legalistic life desiring its own glory (5:24-26)

Living your new life in Christ (Ch. 6)

  • Restore each other rather than compare yourselves (6:1-5)
  • Sow to the spirit and not to the flesh (6:6-10)
  • No glory in the flesh only in the Lord Jesus Christ (6:11-18)
    • The failure of those preaching circumcision to suffer for what they believe (6:12-13)
    • Then Paul points to his own suffering for the cause of Christ. It’s not birth marks, it’s NEW birth marks (6:14-17).
    • He finishes with a prayer for their spiritual condition because their problem is a spiritual problem and the grace of God is not directed to the flesh (6:18)